How to be a long-distance uncle

Eddy asks: I want to talk to my nephews far away in Australia, but when I call them I don’t know what to say to them. They look so distant and I feel the impact so strongly. It’s as if something is wrong.

Hi Eddy –


Oh there’s nothing quite like being an uncle or aunt, is there!  You’re so fond of those kids, but you’re not their parent, so it’s hard to create exactly the relationship you want with them.  Especially if they’re very far away, like on another continent!  I don’t know how old your nephews are, but there’s a really good chance that you’re right – they are growing in their own world, their own lives, and you’re not a part of it.


Because of this, you have two jobs.  The first one is to find a way to visit them!  And when you get there, to have a total blast with them.


But the second is to try to relate to them from wherever you’re living.  Here are some thoughts.


–       Have they always lived there?  If not, you can ask them about what’s different there.  If they have always lived there, you can maybe talk a bit about what’s different about where you live.


–       What do you have in common?  Are they into movies or music?  With either of those, you can probably talk about things you both have liked.  Or if they’re into sports, there’s a chance you may not watch the same things at all, so you can ask them to teach you about Aussie Rules Football or Rugby or Cricket, whatever you don’t know.


–       Try to learn more about Australian culture, to find more to talk about. Ask them about the new movie “Red Dog,” or about John Williamson or – if they’re old enough – the politics of the country.  For example, do you know that they have their first female prime minister, and that she was not elected to the office by the people, but took it in a sort of intraparty coup!


–       Send them gifts, tell them jokes, become their favorite relative.


–       And I know I said it before, but truly, the best thing would be for you to meet up with them face-to-face.  That’s the best way to bond with anyone, especially kids.  Be fun and they’ll never forget you!


Good luck Eddy.  And good on ya matey, for being a caring uncle.  Once they realize that about you, you’ve got them for life!





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